Monday, December 7, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

The last couple of months are my favorite months in which to run. And fall never seems to last long enough. And I'm usually injured from overtraining during the summer or just a little burned out on running to really enjoy it. This year has been different. I have managed to stay uninjured, at least not to the point where I end up having to take a couple of months off and start all over again. And even though it's been pretty cold, I've enjoyed running in it. I'm usually a pretty big wimp and just run on the treadmill when it gets cold. But this year I have loved getting out and breathing in that crisp air. Now don't get me wrong... when the wind is blowing, I'm inside. I'm still a little wimpy.

One of my favorite things about running in the fall is all the leaves on the ground. I don't know about you, but I love crunching through piles of leaves and kicking them up. This doesn't make for good strides, but it makes for a lot of fun. This is a terrible picture, it was done with my phone, but it shows the long street that I'd run down just covered in leaves, waiting for me to crunch.

Saturday I set out for a ten miler. It was snowing lightly during my whole run and was so much fun. I ended up making it 13 although my poor body kind of paid for it the rest of the day. I guess some sort of fuel besides a couple of drinks of water would have helped. Whenever I get the chance to run in the snow, it seems like the world kind of slows down. My footsteps even seem softer, lighter and the world seems quiet. Plus when snowflakes get stuck on my eyelashes and cheeks, I can't help but smile.

My hair was frozen into icicles by the time I got home. I really think my hair would have broken right off if I had tried to bend it. That hot shower melted them and never felt so good!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Turkey Trot and a Santa Run

I haven't been very good about posting lately. I am still running. I am still doing my killer video twice a week although I am starting to dread it. But I am still getting sore from it. And I tried my first spinning class a couple of weeks ago and will do that during the winter. I've knocked out a couple of 10 milers as well and hope to be able to keep that up. My body is feeling good, no knee pain and I'm feeling pretty grateful for that. You never know what life is going to hand you tomorrow.

My daughter wanted to run our hometown Thanksgiving race because a couple of her friends were doing it. So I got roped into it as well. It ended up being so much fun. She really doesn't run other than playing football or soccer at break but she is quite the little ballerina. The kids race was 2 miles and the adults ran 4.

She and her friends all started out sprinting from the starting line while Heather, Jodi and I ran just behind them. After the first mile it is a pretty good incline to the finish. That did them in. We walked for a bit so they could catch their breath and then once we got to the straight away, they finished sprinting. I was really proud of her because it was hard for her and she never gave up.

Her time was 19 minutes!

We made another loop which was pretty tough. Heather and I caught up to Jodi and we were able to finish together. Abby came to run us in and was "encouraging" us by telling me to beat Jodi and vise versa. What a stinker!

All our neighbors that ran and our winnings! Abby took 2nd in her age group and I ended up taking third! My time was 36 minutes. It helps when not very many people show up for the race. That will never happen again. It was a good day!

My next adventure was a race called the Santa Run in Ogden. To run the 5K you must dress up like Santa. They supply the long sleeved shirt, hat and beard and I made us some sweet pants. We found some striped socks and the outfit was complete! This is my kind of race! My goal was to not sweat. We were staying afterwards for a parade and lighting ceremony and I didn't want to be cold. No such luck. We did take it easy just having a good time and taking pictures all along the way. But I did sweat. And to think that earlier that day I was worried about being cold during the race!

Heather, me and Jodi

The volunteers were all dressed like elves and they served milk and cookies (and water). I tried one bite for a photo and regretted it the rest of the loop.

Really not a bad time for how many times we stopped! For more pictures visit my other blog and Jodi's blog! Good times! I can't wait for next year! Any ideas on how to improve the outfit?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Post Marathon Workouts/Dealing with IT band issues.

I would have to admit that I finally feel totally recovered from the marathon. Yes, it has taken 3 weeks, but I blame it on my new workout video and from being sick, having sick kids and as a result- no sleep. I was terribly sore for about 3 days but by the end of the first week was feeling pretty good. I spent quite a bit of time stretching and rolling my IT bands. That was my main concern. I was frightened that I was injured again and would be starting all over. So I decided to go out for a walk and just see how everything was feeling. I really hate fast walking, I think it hurts worse than running so after about a mile and a half, I just started running. I kept it pretty slow but after my quads started to feel it, I knew I wasn't ready to jump back in just quite yet. Still it ended up being 6 miles and it felt good to get off my lazy butt and do something. And the fact that my knee didn't hurt terribly was a big plus.
The mental part of recovering is still coming. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that I'm just not made for marathons. I know it's a little self pity going on, but when I think of all that time training and then think about the resulting day it just gets to me. I think I was better right after. Maybe the horror of feeling that badly and just being able to finish has diminished and all that's left is that stupid time. I know, I know. But it still is bugging me. And the thought of another one is just not there anymore. Maybe it will change. My husband is sure it will, but if not, it will be o.k. too. I don't have to be a marathon runner to still be a runner.
The last few weeks have been focussed on strengthening my lower half and stretching. I can still feel my knee a bit so I've been icing and rolling my whole lower half. I can really tell a difference. I am refusing to wear my IT band straps anymore. I don't know if they were cutting off my circulation to my calves and that's why I had problems, but I know I was using them as a crutch. I want to get them totally healed and not have to use them anymore. On a vain note: they make my knees look fat.
My friend Raigon sent me a DVD a couple of months ago. I promised her I'd try it out after the marathon. It's a killer. It's no beginner workout and I don't know if it was too soon after the marathon or if I'm just totally out of shape, but the just the warm up about did me in. It's a kickboxing DVD called KickMax. There are 3 main components to the workout. There is a combination section where punching and kicking are put together, a blast section that has plyometrics, and then a leg conditioning section. It's all concluded with a yoga style stretch. It's a really good workout. I've just now been able to get through the whole video though I'm modifying during the 2nd and 3rd sections. I really like it because it's challenging and I don't see myself mastering it for a while. Plus I really like kickboxing and I think I'll try to memorize some of the combinations to do out on my punching bag. There's just something about physically hitting that bag that I like. My body hasn't been this sore in a while and it feels good. The first week I felt like I couldn't even walk or sit down but each day has gotten a little better and I can finally sleep on my shoulders again without waking up with sore arms. I've been able to keep running, although it's been a lot less mileage. I've run 6 miles the last two Saturdays and 3 miles two other days for the last two weeks. It's been just right. Maybe this will be the Saturday for a long run again.

Check out a portion of the video!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What makes abs just as sore as legs after a marathon? Apparently, throwing up does.

What to write... what to write. I sure wish I could write that I had a great marathon, that I beat my time, that I didn't hurt more than would be expected. But no. I can not write that and be truthful at the same time. But, what might seem like a real disappointment, considering all the training I went through, really isn't. And although things didn't go as planned, I am simply grateful to have finished.

You know how when you have a big decision to make and you make those lists of the pros and cons? Well, it seems like that would be a good way to look at the marathon from an objective point of view. If I think about the pain, the objectivity would be taken away and I wouldn't even make it to the pros list. So here goes:

The Cons:
*My IT band decided to flare up at mile four in total injury pain mode after months of absolutely no pain.
*About mile 10 I got nauseous.
*I threw up a couple of times.
*My calves cramped from mile 15 until the end.
*Did not even come close to beating my time.

The Pros:
*I had an amazing couple of months training.
*I had regularly scheduled therapy sessions during those training miles.
*I had the best running partner who stayed with me and truly didn't care about time.
*I got a trip out of this whole thing and was able to escaped the freezing cold weather and go swimming and wear shorts.
*I got to see two of my best friends from high school.
*Mile 22 is when I started feeling better and felt like I could finish strong.
*I finished and it wasn't in an ambulance.

St. George was a great marathon with awesome volunteers and support staff. The country was beautiful and the weather was great. Thanks to all of you who wished me well through e-mails, texts, phone calls and just stopping by. I have a great support staff myself, who are so patient with me and my insanity. Now, when's the next one? Sorry, hon.

Heather, me, Angi, Missy

Man, runners are messy. There were a lot of crazies there!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

If the side of the road could talk...

Don't you just love to see what on the side of the road while you're running? There's always something interesting that gets you thinking and as we all know... there's plenty of time for thinking on those runs. Of course there's the masses of road kill that I end up leaping over. And there's plenty of garbage. But I love the various shoes and socks that I have seen, never a pair of course. But doesn't it make you wonder how in the world they ended up there? I envision a kids throwing it out the window and the mom too mad to go back and get it. Or it being left outside on a summer night and a dog takes off with it and leaves it miles away. I've seen caulking guns, and garbage of every kind, but my favorite from the last couple of weeks has to be a bike seat. I see a bike seat off to the side of the road and think it's weird but it gets better. A few hundred feet later I see the bike from which it came off of. Which left me thinking about how that seat fell off and the rider somehow rode that bike at least a little while longer in some very uncomfortable position until finally ditched the whole effort. I wish I knew the real story behind some of the weird things that I see on the side of the road. What strange objects have you seen?
I ran my last 20 miler Saturday with Mel and Heather. It was a slow run, possibly the slowest to date mostly because of me. We stopped a lot to stretch and I tried babying my calves as much as possible. But they pretty much hurt the whole time. And then the last four miles I got some pretty fun cramping happening there. But we made it and now I need to figure out how to fix it before the big day. I went in and got a sports massage and then my chiropractor taped my calves with kinesio tape. He had just returned from a seminar and was happy to practice on me. I hope it helps.

Monday August 31st- 10 miles biking with the trailer
Tuesday Sept. 1st- 8 mile easy run
Wednesday Sept. 2nd- 10 miles biking with the trailer
Thursday Sept. 3rd- 8 mile easy run
Saturday Sept. 5th- 7 mile easy run, 8 mile bike ride

Monday Sept. 7th- 12 miles bike ride
Tuesday Sept. 8th- 5 mile run, calves hurt entire run
Wed. iced the calf on and off all day but it hurt. 5 mile bike ride
Thursday- saw the chiro and had him work both calves really hard
Friday Sept. 10th- 4 mile run, calf did better but I word leg warmers under my pants. I don't know if keeping them warm helps or not but it couldn't hurt.
Saturday Sept. 11th- 20 mile run

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

At what point did you call yourself a runner?

This question was brought up in our car during the Wasatch Back by Tall Girl. I've been thinking about it lately with the half marathon this last week, and I wonder- can you still be called a runner if you run for fun and not time? It took me a really long time to call myself a runner. Even after completing my first marathon I didn't feel like I could call myself a runner. Not because I didn't love it- because I did. The answer was simple. I didn't feel like I was fast. I know that fast is a relative term and those people that I admire and wish I was like are not fast when compared to the elite runners. But man, I'd love to be as "fast" as them. I did speed work religiously. But I never seemed to really get as fast as I wanted in the time I wanted. It was easy to overlook just how far I had come in that pursuit of some elusive time. And getting pregnant or injured every single year and having to quit running didn't help. It felt like I was starting over after each break. So when did I actually consider myself a runner? I don't know if there was a big moment when it happened. No fireworks in the sky or ribbons pinned to my shirt. Maybe it was when I quit doing so many other things in the cardio arena and ran more than anything else. I'm not sure. But I'm happy to say that I am a runner. I'm still not fast but I'm out there doing it and loving it. I run for fun. I still care about times. I can say that I don't all I want, but deep down I do. It's not because I'm in competition with anyone else. I don't even consider myself to be competitive. It hard for me to run with someone who IS competitive. I don't ever want to hold someone back. And it's not so that I can say that I run a "so many a minute" mile, but it's tangible evidence that all my hard work is indeed working. Will I ever be satisfied with my speed? Probably not. Because no matter where we are, I believe it's inherent that we want to be better. It's what drives us.
So, back to the half. I ran it last year. I ran faster than I had ever run before. It was an amazing race with a finish time of 2:02. I was so shocked and happy. And I felt like I pushed as much as I possibly could. I also ran it injured and really trashed my IT bands. I was out for months after. But that time made it all worthwhile. I knew that I would probably never do a repeat of that time. It was one of those fluke things. So even deciding to run it again this year was hard. I mentally prepared myself to not be disappointed. I knew I was leaving the watch at home and somehow I was going to make this a fun run. Heather and I wore some fun socks and had a great time. We got lots of comments from other runners as well as spectators and it made it fun. We even heard the comment at the finish line from a guy saying that he had seen those socks pass him up in the last miles. My calf hurt almost the whole race, but never really bad. We stopped at each drink station and stretched a few times during the race but tried to keep the pace up. At the end we were really pushing it. Heather knew I was o.k. with whatever time we ended up with, but being the great friend that she is, she pushed us through and our time was 2:00. It was pretty awesome. I honestly couldn't believe the time clock as we passed it and I made her give me a dorky high five across the finish line. Really, really awesome. Now I just have to worry about being faster next year. Ugggg.
So now it's your turn. When did you consider yourself a runner? And talk to me about speed.

(thanks to Mel- our unofficial photographer for hanging out and documenting our totally awesome socks!)
So for this week:
Monday August 24th- 6 miles with hills Calf was good until the very end of the last hill. Wasn't just sore this time. It hurt like an injury. Went in and had it worked on.
Tuesday August 25th- 8 mile bike ride
Wednesday August 26th- 7 miles speed work Calf was sore after the second mile of speed work but didn't really get worse. Stretched really good. Hope it's o.k. for the weekend!
Thursday August 27th- 11 mile bike ride
Saturday August 29th- Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What happens when you spoil a child and then take away her favorite plaything? Well after the wailing and kicking and screaming fit are over with, that's when you realize that you've spoiled the child in the first place. But of course it's too late by this point. I have become that spoiled child. Heather, my running partner has become that luxury that I don't want to give up and have become accustomed to having on my long runs. She's the reason I don't have to take anti depressant drugs or pay for expensive therapy on some guys couch. She makes me laugh and forget the miles. And as I found out this week, she's saving me a lot of money on buying a gun that my husband insists that I need to pack on me if I'm going alone in the pitch black of early morning or late at night. Can you imagine?

Heather had her knees worked on this week and was banned from doing the 20 miler. I don't know who had it worse, her NOT being able to run or me knowing that I'd have to do it alone. I woke up at the bright and early hour of 4 a.m. to eat, looked outside at the pitch black that it was and went back to bed. I was just too nervous (scared) to run in the outer part of the city where no one would hear my screams for help. Waiting until it was light wasn't any better because I figured by the time I'd finish it would be 1000 degrees and I didn't want to do it. I'd already told Heather that she'd be just fine not doing the 20 miler, that it was only one week and she'd be fine, so talking myself out of the run should have been just as easy. I went school shopping with the kids, canned some peaches and was miserable the whole time having that run in the back of my mind. Finally at 6:45 my husband shoved me out the door and made me run it. I was miserable and was going to be until I did it. It was 93 degrees.
The first hour was hot but o.k. I made sure to drink every mile and aside from thinking that the lining of my nostrils were going to burn up and start bleeding (you know, like in the movies right before someone dies...) from running past the very ripe sewage treatment plant, things were good. The sun was going down and it was cooling off. At about mile 10 I realized that I was in the same dark predicament that I was in earlier that morning. I was alone and it was DARK. As in no moon, pitch black dark. Janz had come to bring me my headlamp and more water and mosquito repellant but had forgotten my hat. My plan was to head to the track and run some laps so that I didn't have to get further away from home. I got there and started to run only to get myself all freaked out there. I was the only one there. It was so dark that I couldn't see the bleachers or if someone was hiding on the side. Plus we have some construction going on at our high school and I was nervous about that. Then a car pulled over to the side of the road, turned off its lights and just sat there. I ran a couple more laps and then stopped to get a drink. I decided that I was just too nervous to stay there so I got out my phone to call my husband to tell him I was leaving and as soon as I pulled open my phone the car turned on its lights and pulled away. That didn't help me at all. After I met my husband again and he insisted I get and stay on a well lit road or come home, I headed up to Main Street and ran up and down that a couple of times. By this point I was done mentally as well as physically. Only my calf was really bothering me. So I only completed 18 and 1/2 miles. I took a nice ice bath, drank a recovery drink and went to bed. Kuddos to all of you out there who are brave enough to do it alone. I'm just glad Heather's back in the game and I won't have to do anymore longs runs alone. This summer training is tricky.

Monday: 5 mile bike ride with the trailer. Have I mentioned that this should count for double. Really it should.
Tuesday: 3 mile recovery run. Calves are still very sore.
Wednesday: 8 mile speed workout
Friday: 18 1/2 mile run. Calves are really sore.
Saturday: 4 mile bike ride

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Is it really August?

Saturday's run was interesting. It was an adventure. Instead of August weather we experienced more like February's weather. I woke up to the sound of rain. Normally I love running in the rain. It's my favorite weather to run in. But it was unusually cold. We were running down a canyon. And it was still dark because it was 6:00 in the morning. I debated wearing a long sleeve shirt over the top but didn't want to have to mess with another something around my waist so I left it home. Plus I always heat up pretty quick so I knew I'd be o.k. I've decided that I need to get some arm warmers. They would have been perfect on this day and probably for all of spring and fall. They're on my list.
So the interesting highlights include me HAVING to find a bush to relieve myself for the first time ever. Heather was good enough to stand as a lookout up on the top of the road and tell me if I could be spotted.
We watched a hawk hover in the wind and then dramatically dive down into the weeds and catch a mouse right in front of us. After returning to it's nest it hovered right over the top of us. It was SO cool.
And last, but not least, it poured. And poured, and poured. I kept wondering if our husbands were going to come and rescue us. If either of us had cell phones I'm afraid we could have called for help. Our arms looked like they were sunburned because they were so cold and were just getting pelted by the rain. We were both soaked. Every step felt like I was stepping in a puddle, which I wasn't. My shoes were just sloshing like I was. We made our way around the reservoir and headed back down the canyon. There was a river running along side of us and the cars going 60 mph were sending out walls of water every time they passed us. There was only one big wall of mud by a huge semi truck. I'm sure I let out a little scream as I saw it coming and turned my head and body just in time to get a back full of water and mud.
Like I said, it was quite an adventure.

Monday August 10th- 6 miles with hills
Tuesday August 11th- 11 mile bike ride. Visited the chiro that morning. He worked those IT bands pretty hard. Told me to take the next day off because I'd be sore. He wasn't kidding. I have bruises again!
Thursday August 13th- 7 mile run. Was supposed to be a tempo run but was one of the most miserable runs of my life. I made all the classic mistakes: didn't fuel up after my last workout, started too late so it was HOT, started off the tempo running my speed pace (After two miles of that I was done!). Consequently it was a struggle to finish the run. I had NO energy. It was definitely NOT a tempo run. Later that night we went on a 5 miles bike ride with the trailer. I was still feeling drained. Bad day.
Friday August 14th- 4 mile easy run, 8 mile easy bike ride
Saturday August 15th- 16 mile run down the canyon and around the lake

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gotta Love those Step Down Weeks!

I've never really trained in the summer. Not seriously. And not for a marathon. I feel like I can't miss a single work out or the whole race will be in jeopardy. I know this is probably not true but I don't want to leave anything to chance. So vacationing becomes a challenge. One thing I really like about this training schedule is that it has a break week. The mileage increases for 3 weeks and then you get a step down week. I am finding that I need those weeks both physically and mentally. Somehow the timing was just right for our little trip. I did miss one running day but don't really feel too bad about it. My IT bands and piraformis have been bugging me a little since last week. I've been to see the chiro twice so hopefully that helps. I keep thinking that getting help before I'm in total pain will pay off in the end.

Monday August 3rd- 10 mile bike ride, boating fun
Tuesday August 4th- 7 mile run
Wednesday August 5th- 10 mile bike ride, rock climbing
Friday August 7th- biking on trails and canoeing
Saturday August 8th- 7 mile run

Monday, August 3, 2009

The first of three

Just a few ways that you know you're on a 20 mile run:
* the week worth of complaining and stories about your combined 12 kids as well as in laws, ex-husband, and other problems have all been thoroughly hashed out and problems solved during the first half of the run. (Maybe the world's leader's should all talk about their problems on a long 20 miler. Just a thought.)
* you've seen roadkill in two of every kind. (same concept as Noah's ark, just backwards. Then your running partner points out that there are two of you.)
* the flies stop following the cows and start following your stink.
* your whole lower half is numb yet every body part from your bellybutton on down hurts.
* the last 4 miles consist of naming every part that is hurting.
* the delirious laughter set in and the slightest little thing will set it off.
* at the end that inevitable sense of accomplishment sets in and overrides the extreme pain if only for just a few moments.

Monday July 27th- 10 mile bike ride
Tuesday July 28th- 5 mile tempo run, upper body weights
Wednesday July 29th- 9 mile bike ride with the trailer and monster headwinds
Thursday July 30th- 5 miles with hills, upper body weights, 6 mile bike ride
Saturday Aug 1st- 20 miles!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Calf Issues

Every single time I start out on a run, my calves are very tight. It is my whole lower leg truthfully, all around my ankles but mostly my calves. They eventually loosen up after around 4 miles, but that first part is brutal. And then, on the last couple of long runs (16 and 18 miles), I've gotten a few calf cramps towards the end. Nothing that lasts, but it's enough to scare me. I'd forgotten just how bad they are. So I've adjusted my eating. I always eat a banana before a run and then Gatorade and gels during a run. Before my 18 miler I drank milk, ate a banana and did the gels and gatorade religiously even though I felt like I was pretty sugared out by the end. And I took an electrolyte pill before the run and at mile 12 as suggested by my uncle. I had felt a cramp before the pill and then again right towards the end. What more can I do? I started doing a little more research on the web and discovered what might just be the problem. Lack of circulation. I have those IT band straps cranked down pretty tight so that they don't slip and I'm not messing with them the whole run. I think that may be the problem. So for my first 20 miler this weekend I'm going to experiment with those a little. I will probably still keep all the other stuff in my routine, but hopefully that will fix the problem. Other than that, the training's going really well. It's been fun, for the most part and I've even surprised myself. I think I mentioned that Heather and I did a magic mile together to determine how fast we should be doing our speed work and tempo runs. We're really at about the same pace, which makes it convenient for training. But when I looked at how fast we had to do our mile speed work, I didn't think there was any possible way that I could do it. But to my surprise, I was able to do it and though it was really hard at the end, I was pretty excited that I made it through. I guess no matter what level you are at, you can surprise yourself.

Here's what I've been up to. My goals are to make my weight training more consistent and use my new bike to cross train. My first bike with gears. I need some heavily padded shorts for sure!

Thursday July 9th- full body weights
Friday July 10th- 4 miles easy
Saturday July 11th- 6 miles with hills

Monday July 13th- 5.5 miles with hills
Tuesday July 14th- 20 minutes of stair running YUCK!
Wednesday July 15th- 6 miles with 4 miles tempo 9:20 pace
Thursday July 16th- 3 miles easy
Saturday July 18th- 16 miles down the canyon and around the Reservoir average pace of 10 minute miles. I was pretty sore after the run, mostly in my hamstrings for about 2 days.

Monday July 20th- 3 miles easy, upper body weights, stretching
Tuesday July 21st- 7 miles speed workout
Thursday July 23rd- 18.6 miles- Peach Days 10k route x 3. I didn't time this workout, but it was slower than the past weeks due to a hilly course and a good break around each loop. But we made it through.
Friday July 24th- 4 mile bike ride
Saturday July 25th- 5 miles with hills followed by 8 mile bike ride

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Now, onto the marathon training

The post Wasatch Back glow has faded. I really can't wait until next year. What a great experience that was. I was on cloud nine for a while and now the reality has set in that I am in full blown marathon training again. It's a little scary, a little exciting, and a lot of unknown. But I am excited to try again and refuse to end on a bad marathon. This one's gonna be good. I feel like I've learned a lot from my mistakes and am ready to go and use that knowledge. I'm trying not to think too much about that actual marathon day and just focus on the training. Which is completely opposite of what I did during my first marathon training. Picturing that finish line was a motivational vision for me. Not this time. I know I'll make it to the finish. Even if I'm dragging myself across with bloody knuckles. I know I'll finish. I just want to finish well this time and feel good. Is that too much to ask?

I've had a real treat lately. I've had a running partner. It hasn't always been the same person, but it's been a partner. It's not that I don't still enjoy running alone. Because I do. But those long runs go by so much faster with a friend to talk to. I had the joy of running with Mel on my 12 miler. She is a faster runner than I am but since it was a long slower run, we were able to run together. Honestly, I felt so much satisfaction finishing that run faster than I would have ever run it by myself. It felt really good. I'm always amazed at how long that feeling of a good run lasts. Days even. I've also been able to run with my good friend Heather. We ran our first marathon together after not training together even once. Circumstances just didn't work out. We live really close and now that we're running a second one together, it's been fun to train together. We push each other. We have great conversation. During a long run you just have time to talk about things you wouldn't normally have time for. We've also been doing hills together. That's been really good. We keep each other motivated. At the end of our last 14 miler I was feeling really good. It was the first time I have run that far in over a year. It's starting to come back to me now how great and accomplished I feel after those long runs. I hope that feeling lasts!

Tuesday June 23rd: 4 miles

Wednesday June 24th: full body weights
Friday June 26th: 4 miles and full body weights
Saturday June 27th: 12 miles with Mel average pace: just under 10 minute mile
Monday June 29th: 5 miles tempo
Wednesday July 1st: 5 miles with hills
Thursday July 2nd: 3 miles easy
Saturday July 4th: 14 miles average pace 10:40
Monday July 6th: 5 miles with hills
Wednesday July 8th: 6.5 miles

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay 2009- Part three

Time flies when you're having fun! After our breakfast we headed off to meet the rest of our team that finished running through the night and at the crack of dawn. You could tell we were feeling refreshed because Sarai got the whole bunny getup on to cheer our runners along the course. The adrenaline must have started to flow knowing it was our last leg, because I wasn't feeling tired at all. You'd never know that we only gotten a little bit of sleep.

There goes Tancy just crusisn' right along!

Waiting for Mel to come along.

You'd never know that this was AFTER her run! She looked great! It had started to rain by then. It wasn't too bad and in fact kept the temperatures down.
Tancy cheering for Sarai! She had the longest leg in this set of legs for our car and she did just awesome! She had 7 miles of big hill that she just kept going up.

Our car isn't looking so good after the rain.

Me and Ang right before my last leg.

The hand off. I started with the bunny ears on. It didn't last long.

My last leg was 3 miles of brutal downhill with a mile of flat at the end. It was raining pretty hard by now and the wind was the strongest headwind I've run against. It was so loud that even with my i pod turned all the way up, I could barely tell which song was playing. I just kept my head down (mostly so that my hat wouldn't fly off and so that I wasn't pelted in the face with the rain), took short quick steps and let the mountain carry me down the hill. I was running faster than I have ever run before, for a sustained distance, and at the bottom of the hill stopped to tie my shoe and then took about 20 steps to catch my breath.

I picked up again and tried to sustain a good pace even though the wind was now pushing me sideways. I was so excited to see the exchange point and know that I was all done. I pushed through to the end and passed the bracelet on to Cameo. Then I walked over to my teammates only to have to make a detour to the weeds and throw up. I had just pushed myself to its limits. It felt good. My average pace for this leg was 8:40. I made a quick cool down jog around the parking lot and got in the car. I was totally on that runner's high. And I was done!

We met up with the other half of our team to hand off for their last brutal legs.

We're all done with all our legs! Truly an awesome feeling. Now it's just a waiting game to all cross the finish line together! I really couldn't believe we were all done. The time had just flown by. I was almost a little sad. But not too much when I knew we were finally going to get to take a shower and eat real hot food. Which is what we did next.

Angie let us shower in her hotel and it was one of the best showers of my life. After I brushed my teeth I actually felt like a human being instead of a wet, sweaty monster. We went to dinner together and talked about what a great time we had just experienced. Our team really got along so well, even with being tired, sore, and did I mention tired? Everyone was so patient and cheered each other along the whole way. What a great group of women! I really hope we get to do it together again next year.

While we were in Park City showering and eating and enjoying ourselves, the rest of our team was really having a rough time. Those last couple of legs are the most difficult in the whole course and it was really raining down of those girls. The trail was muddy and on top of it all, the lightning started. Even after all that they had been through, 2 of the girls backtracked and found their runner who was pretty scared of the lightning and just wanted to finish. Amazing!

We all crossed the finish line together with the team behind us saying, "I can't believe we're getting beat by the bunnies!" We finished 27th of 82 overall the women's teams and 19th in our division. It was truly an experience I'll never forget, friends that will last forever, and one I hope to repeat.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay 2009- Part two

The Energizer Runnies keep going and going and going....all through the night! After our brief stay on a church lawn we headed up to Snow Basin to exchange with our other van and give them a break. We even got to experience real bathrooms here instead of the delightful Honey Pot. Mel's husband was one of the volunteers here and she got to see him for a while. We met up with the other half of our team who had kept us right on track, time wise. Really, I can't explain how amazing the whole team was. We had some really accomplished runners on our team. I was grateful to be a part of it. It was getting dark and pretty chilly. But it was beautiful. The great thing about it being so pitch black was that the stars were stunning. I don't think I've ever seen so many stars or them shining so brightly as I did up there. It was incredible. Almost unreal.

Mel and the team chatting with her husband. It was really crowded and traffic was crazy up there.
Tancy gearing up for her first run in the dark. She cruised down the hill so fast that we missed her as we were parked on the side of the road. Everyone wore glow bracelets and necklaces so that we could see our runner coming. Somehow (maybe a little dozing...) we missed her and by the time we realized it we had to book it down to make the exchange! She put us ahead by over 7 minutes on this leg alone! By the end of all our nighttime legs, our team was ahead of projected time by 40 minutes! Everyone was amazing!

Mel all decked out and ready to run!

Sarai patiently waiting for her turn!

The hand off from Cameo to Angie-

Cameo finishing her 2nd leg! Go girl! Only one left!

A random runner who appreciated our lighting up the dark night!

Waiting for Angie to come by! Letting her know where we were!

There's the queen of the hills! 8 miler with a killer hill at the end! You're the WO man!

Showing off those guns!

The nighttime run was by far my favorite. I didn't have any music and was alone for most of the run. There were a few times I was worried that I had missed a sign to turn because I couldn't see anyone. But then a van would pass by and by the way it was decorated I knew I was on the right track. I could spot a butt lamp in the distance and that became my new goal. I passed 4 runners during my 4 mile run. I was having a great time and was in the groove. I had a particular song running through my mind that I kept repeating over and over. It had a good beat and my feet just stayed with it. I ran an average of 9 minute miles and felt great. I was pushing it but really felt good. If you've followed my times at all, you know that this is fast for me. Lately, on the last few training runs I've been able to run in the 9 minute area and it's been fun. There's something about the solitude, and the darkness and just trusting that you're on the right track and that your team will be there waiting for you in the end, that was almost spiritual. Lots of object lessons in that run- all the safety gear: reflective vests, headlamps, butt lights, signs on the road, rustling in the brush next to you, stars above, team mates cheering for you and keeping you on track, the last mile marker, the finish get the picture. I kept a prayer of thanksgiving in my mind especially during this run for the opportunity I had to experience this. Ten years ago I would never have believed it. Just goes to show you what the human mind, body, and spirit can do even when it doesn't know it yet.

After we completed our legs at 3:30 in the morning we had to drive 20 miles to our resting point. Our luxurious accommodations would be a high school complete with the most disgusting bathrooms (they had been well used by thousands of runners by this point) and non private showers and the gym floor to sleep on. Poor Mel couldn't stand the smell and slept in the van. The rest of us opted for the auditorium floor that wasn't as crowded as the gym. But it still was a sight. The stage, steps and isles were covered with sleeping bags and blankets with worn out runners. I really wanted to change into something that wasn't wet with sweat. A nice janitor (poor dude) let me into a small room and locked me in (it was a push door so that I could get out- I will admit that I was slightly nervous about this, although not nervous enough not to accept the offer) so that I could change in private. Needless to say that we took a sponge bath with baby wipes and ditched those nasty high school showers, ate a little something, brushed our teeth and tried to get some sleep. It wasn't easy with people moving all the time, zippers zipping, and me worrying about getting stepped on or something getting taken out of my bag. But I managed about a hour and a half and actually felt rejuvenated. We got cleaned up, ate a little breakfast, packed up the van again and headed out to meet the other half of the Runnies for our last leg. Clouds were rolling in and it looked like rain. Little did we know...
Part 3 to come...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay 2009- Part one

I've really been struggling to put into words this great experience that I've just had. It truly was one of the best things I've ever been a part of. It was wild and crazy and so much fun and pain all at the same time. I think one of the most amazing things that I saw and experienced was the teamwork and camaraderie that we shared. Everyone did a part, everyone trained for their specific legs, and everyone was patient and kind. It was an adventure that I'll probably be telling my grandkids about. I am simply amazed with the women that I was surrounded by. They were incredible and it feels like I have 5 new close friends.

Our team was the Energizer Runnies. Very last minute we all started talking on our blog about how to decorate our van and costumes- you know, the important part of the race. For never having met any of these women before, I already knew they were going to be amazing because of the ideas that were flying! I volunteered to make bunny ears. Mel got shower loofas for us to pin on as tails and she made an awesome drum out of a lampshade from a thrift store. Saria made a couple of battery packs for us to wear on our backs. Cameo came up with a great idea for the van and it was all thrown together two days before the race.

We met for the first time at Angi's parents house in Logan for breakfast and decorating and loading up the cars. Angi's folks made us french toast, scrambled eggs and had fruit, bagels, and juice. It was perfect for meeting everyone and then trying to match faces to names that we were all familiar with. We had two teams, 24 women, all of which I'd never met before. I'm not shy once I get to know you, but I'm pretty quiet if I don't. But it wasn't like that here. I felt like I'd known some of these women through their blogs and it was a relief meeting them in person.

Tancy- modeling the outfit!

The start! And we were off! I had thought we'd have a lot of free time in between running but I was very wrong. The time just flew by. We were not very good at giving support to our runners the first couple of legs. But we learned quick. The race does not provide ANY water at any point. We were in charge of supporting each other. Good thing Mel and Tancy were so patient with our inexperience. We almost missed a few exchanges, had some close calls along the way, but that made it all the more exciting.

Can you spot Tancy in the bunny ears? They came in really handy for finding our runner and for spotting the other team at the major exchanges. Plus it made for some really good comments that we overheard like this one, "Man, I just couldn't catch the bunny. She was just too fast and ahead of me the whole time!"

Mel- finishing up her first leg!

Sarai getting a drink during her first run.

My first leg about 3:10 in the afternoon- I was so hot and my stomach didn't feel good. It was a real struggle the whole five point something miles. It was pretty much uphill the whole way and I was so glad to see the exchange point! I knew if I could just get through that run that the rest of the legs would be o.k. I had a couple of surprises along the way. My family drove up to cheer me on and seeing them was great! They leapfrogged a while and I looked forward to seeing them in the distance. I also had a great surprise of my friend Jody coming to watch me. I was so shocked that she would drive all the way up there to support me. It meant a lot! I also got several messages on my phone from friends all along the race course checking on me and wishing me luck. I am sometimes just overwhelmed by the love and care of others. It makes me want to be a better person.

My exchange to Cameo. I ran an average of 10:20 minute miles during this leg. I started out too fast and I will admit that I walked a few times to catch my breath. Not what I wanted to do, but live and learn. I was so glad to be done!

Cameo finishing up her first leg! Wow, it was a crazy uphill the whole way with dust flying in her face. Some of the drivers were very courteous and drove slowly and others were not. Cameo didn't stop once! She rocked that hill!

Angie was next with a good section of uphill and then a wild, steep downhill that was on a rocky, rutted out road. She had to leap over sections of road. There were places where it was a tight fit with the cars and runners on the same road. Dusty, dirty for her too. But she again was awesome!

Our poor bunny van just doesn't look the same after all that dirt.

We had each done our first legs and you would think that we'd have a lot of time to rest and stretch our legs after all that running? Well, we didn't. We made some sandwiches and ate on a church lawn, changed out of our wet stinky clothes, and then tried to lay down and rest for a minute. We then realized that we didn't even know how to get to the next exchange point or how long it would take us. We only had about 3 hours in between those exchanges and that went by fast. We got directions and headed out for Snow Basin....